L’Obs’ China articles biased, unprofessional

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-12-26 0:58:01

French newsmagazine L'Obs published an editorial on Tuesday saying its Beijing-based journalist Ursula Gauthier has been threatened.

It all started after Gauthier wrote an article in November in the wake of the Paris terror attacks. The article said the Chinese government had attempted to make use of Chinese people's sympathy toward the Paris victims for its own "ulterior motives," namely, to justify China's crackdown on violence in its western region of Xinjiang as a fight against terrorism.

The article slammed China's Xinjiang policies, claiming that the Uyghurs have been suffering from ruthless repression. She said that the recent deadly attacks by Uyghurs on a coal mine in Xinjiang were "probably in revenge for an abuse, an injustice or an expropriation."

The Global Times published an editorial on December 20 criticizing Gauthier's biased report, pointing out that as the Chinese media condemned the IS terror attacks in Paris, the French magazine's story was repaying kindness with insult.

The L'Obs' Tuesday editorial said Gauthier's Facebook account was saturated with hateful comments and even death threats, and this is a serious threat to freedom of the press.

If Gauthier did receive death threats on the Internet, we recommend she call the police.

But what Gauthier has written in effect showed support to terrorism in Xinjiang. The international community has shown consensus  in the fight against terrorism. Gauthier must pay the price for her mistake in taking the wrong side of moral principle.

However, Gauthier and the magazine are not admitting their problems. They complained that she still has not received renewed press credentials from the Chinese government. She told the AFP that this is "a pretext to intimidate foreign correspondents in China, particularly on issues concerning minorities."

We do not know if this is a show of heroism or incredible shallowness. Reading Gauthier's articles, a professional journalist can easily find them full of emotional speculation and short of professionalism. Gauthier's reports do not seem to have come from a person who has been living in China for years. Ignorant of what is really taking place in China, she writes articles out of stubborn Western stereotypes.

Gauthier and the L'Obs stood out this time, not because how fierce the criticism is, but because their articles have crossed the red lines of ethics and professionalism.

We hope future L'Obs journalists can really look deep into Chinese society. We also wish the magazine stop making arrogant and sweeping judgments about China, as if they always know what is right.

Posted in: Editorial

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